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For Winter came: the wind was his whip;
One choppy finger was on his lip:
He had torn the cataracts from the hills,
And they clanked at his girdle like manacles.


His breath was a chain which without a sound
The earth and the air and the water bound;
He came, fiercely driven in his chariot-throne
By the tenfold blasts of the Arctic zone.


Then the weeds, which were forms of living death,
Fled from the frost to the earth beneath:
Their decay and sudden flight from frost
Was but like the vanishing of a ghost.


And under the roots of the Sensitive Plant
The moles and the dormice died for want:
The birds dropped stiff from the frozen air,
And were caught in the branches naked and bare.


First there came down a thawing rain,
And its dull drops froze on the boughs again;
Then there steamed up a freezing dew
Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew;


And a northern Whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out,
Shook the boughs, thus laden and heavy and stiff,
And snapped them off with his rigid griff.


When Winter had gone, and Spring came back,
The Sensitive Plant was a leafless wreck;
But the mandrakes and toadstools and docks and darnels
Rose like the dead from their ruined charnels.



Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.

Whether that Lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love as stars do light,
Found sadness where it left delight,

I dare not guess. But, in this life
. Of error, ignorance, and strife,

Where nothing is but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,

It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.

That garden sweet, that Lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never passed away:
'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed; not they.


For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change; their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.



I Bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one, When rocked to rest on their Mother's breast, As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under; And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the Blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers

Lightning my pilot sits";
In a cavern under is fettered the Thunder,

It struggles and howls at fits.
Over earth and ocean with gentle motion

This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the Genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills and the crags and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream under mountain or stream

The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead: As on the jag of a mountain crag

Which an earthquake rocks and swings An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings. And, when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,

Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,
With wings folded I rest on mine airy nest,

As still as a brooding dove.


That orbed maiden with white fire laden
Whom mortals call the Moon

Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor

By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,

Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The Stars peep behind her and peer.
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee

Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,—

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,

And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the Stars reel and swim,

When the Whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof;

The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march,

With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-coloured bow;
The Sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,

While the moist Earth was laughing below.

1 am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the Sky:
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain, when with never a stain

The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams

Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,—

And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,

I arise, and unbuild it again.


Hail to thee, blithe spirit—

Bird thou never wert—
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher

From the earth thou springest:
Like a cloud of fire,
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightening,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an embodied joy whose race is just begun.


The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven
In the broad daylight,
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight—

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel, that it is there.


All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

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